Reports | December 20, 2011 13:43

Outsiders win European Blitz and Rapid Championships

Outsiders win European Blitz and Rapid Championships

Hrant Melkumyan of Armenia won the European Blitz Championship while Georgian Baadur Jobava finished first in the Rapid tournament. The events were held 16-18 December in Warsaw, Poland.

The top boards in Warsaw | All photos courtesy of the official website

Event European Rapid and Blitz Championship | Games in PGN: Rapid | Blitz via TWIC
Dates December 16th-18th, 2011
Location Warsaw, Poland
System 13 rounds Swiss + tiebreaks for medals with 2-game mini-matches in the blitz
Players

Top players included Nepomniachtchi, Bacrot, Naiditsch, Polgar, Movsesian, Riazantsev, Dreev, Wojtaszek, Shirov, Jobava, Volokitin and Potkin.

Rate of play

Rapid: 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. Blitz: 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move.

Prize fund
Rapid: cash prizes € 20,000 + item prizes worth € 2,000; blitz: cash prizes € 10,000
Tiebreaks

Armaggedon games (blitz 4 minutes for white, 3 minutes for black, 1 second increment; rapid 5 minutes for white, 4 minutes for black, 1 second increment)

The European Blitz and Rapid Championships were for the seventh time held in Warsaw, this time in the Palace of Culture and Science right in the center of town. Main sponsor was MetLife Amplico, the Polish branch of an international insurance company.

By Thomas Richter

Both tournaments followed a similar scenario: the winner wasn't one of the pre-tournament favorites, and finished on top only in the final rounds. Armenian Hrant Melkumyan won the blitz event after Armaggedon tiebreaks, while Georgian Baadur Jobava created a 0.5 point gap with the field in the last round in the rapid event.

Blitz

As IM Stanislaw Zawadzki wrote on behalf of the organizers,

the [blitz] tournament was developing according to hosts hopes

– but didn't finish with a full happy end from a Polish perspective. Wojtaszek was leading for most of the event; then Bartosz Socko took over in round 10 with a 2-0 victory against his compatriot. However, Socko's reign was short-lived: two rounds later he lost 0-2 against Melkumyan (part of the Armenian's 8.5/10 finish) and eventually fell just short of the medal ranks. The trio Dreev-Wojtaszek-Melkumyan shared first place with 20/26, and tiebreaks had to decide the colors of their medals.

The venue was the Palace of Culture and Science in the centre of Warsaw

Dreev first got a "bye" as he had the highest Buchholz score; thus Wojtaszek and Melkumyan faced each other a few minutes after drawing their mini-match in the final round. In a must-win situation with White, Wojtaszek never got a tangible advantage and eventually blundered a rook missing a sudden mating threat. In the final Melkumyan had the white pieces against Dreev and gradually outplayed him, then again benefitting from a blunder by the opponent (28.Nd7?). The 22-year old Armenian, still relatively unknown, is a "student" of Levon Aronian. At his own request, he plays board 1 in the German Bundesliga ahead of his teacher; his current 4/7 score includes a win against Gashimov. In due course he may become part of the Armenian national team.

Hrant Melkumyam - often a second of Levon Aronian, but now successful himself

Judit Polgar "obviously" won the women competition and finished in overall 6th place – thanks to a 2-0 win against Nepomniachtchi in the final round which put the Elo favorite down to 41st place. Other 0-2 losses by the Elo favorites included Nepomniachtchi's earlier match against Wojtaszek, Movsesian's matches against Dreev and 5th finisher Korobov, and Bacrot's match also against Korobov.

Judit Polgar "obviously" won the women competition

From the blitz event, only the tiebreak games are currently available:

PGN file

European Blitz Championship 2011 | Final standings (top 50)

# SNo Name Title Fed Rtg Pts TB1 TB2 TB3
1 28 Melkumyan, Hrant GM ARM 2615 20.0 182.50 215.00 9
2 6 Dreev, Aleksey GM RUS 2710 20.0 191.00 223.00 10
3 8 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw GM POL 2705 20.0 190.50 224.00 9
4 21 Socko, Bartosz GM POL 2635 19.5 189.00 223.00 9
5 15 Korobov, Anton GM UKR 2660 19.0 186.00 218.00 9
6 4 Polgar, Judit GM HUN 2710 19.0 182.50 211.50 8
7 7 Riazantsev, Alexander GM RUS 2710 19.0 181.00 210.50 9
8 39 Moranda, Wojciech GM POL 2568 19.0 175.00 205.50 8
9 45 Jaracz, Pawel GM POL 2542 18.5 177.00 209.00 8
10 9 Volokitin, Andrei GM UKR 2695 18.0 177.50 208.50 7
11 42 Shimanov, Aleksandr GM RUS 2549 18.0 176.00 207.50 9
12 16 Timofeev, Artyom GM RUS 2659 18.0 175.50 203.00 6
13 27 Gajewski, Grzegorz GM POL 2616 18.0 174.00 206.00 8
14 31 Kravtsiv, Martyn GM UKR 2601 18.0 166.00 196.00 7
15 5 Movsesian, Sergei GM ARM 2710 17.5 190.00 222.00 9
16 14 Bologan, Viktor GM MDA 2665 17.5 184.50 216.50 7
17 2 Bacrot, Etienne GM FRA 2714 17.5 183.50 213.00 8
18 20 Jones, Gawain C B GM ENG 2635 17.5 180.50 212.50 6
19 33 Swiercz, Dariusz GM POL 2584 17.5 179.50 212.50 7
20 35 Ruck, Robert GM HUN 2579 17.5 178.00 209.50 7
21 19 Belov, Vladimir GM RUS 2641 17.5 175.50 207.00 9
22 47 Olszewski, Michal GM POL 2539 17.5 174.50 206.00 7
23 36 Lintchevski, Daniil GM RUS 2575 17.5 174.00 204.00 8
24 24 Sjugirov, Sanan GM RUS 2622 17.5 173.00 205.50 7
25 30 Kempinski, Robert GM POL 2603 17.5 171.50 203.00 7
26 18 Zhigalko, Sergei GM BLR 2651 17.5 170.50 202.00 6
27 53 Simonian, Hrair GM ARM 2468 17.5 170.00 198.50 7
28 44 Tomczak, Jacek IM POL 2544 17.5 169.00 199.50 8
29 40 Banusz, Tamas GM HUN 2563 17.0 185.50 219.00 7
30 12 Azarov, Sergei GM BLR 2667 17.0 185.00 218.00 6
31 22 Howell, David W L GM ENG 2633 17.0 179.00 209.00 6
32 46 Durarbeyli, Vasif GM AZE 2539 17.0 177.50 208.00 7
33 54 Pakleza, Zbigniew IM POL 2468 17.0 177.50 208.00 6
34 10 Potkin, Vladimir GM RUS 2684 17.0 175.50 208.50 7
35 26 Andriasian, Zaven GM ARM 2619 17.0 175.00 206.00 9
36 37 Zhigalko, Andrey GM BLR 2572 17.0 172.50 204.50 8
37 41 Nyzhnyk, Illya GM UKR 2562 17.0 169.00 199.00 7
38 38 Vovk, Yuri GM UKR 2571 17.0 168.50 200.00 6
39 56 Grabarczyk, Miroslaw GM POL 2457 17.0 161.50 189.50 7
40 29 Markowski, Tomasz GM POL 2606 17.0 159.00 188.00 7
41 1 Nepomniachtchi, Ian GM RUS 2730 16.5 189.00 222.50 7
42 34 Fedorov, Alexei GM BLR 2579 16.5 184.50 217.50 5
43 23 Erdos, Viktor GM HUN 2623 16.5 173.00 202.50 6
44 25 Miton, Kamil GM POL 2622 16.5 171.00 202.00 7
45 107 Meskovs, Nikita FM LAT 2292 16.5 168.50 196.50 7
46 91 Przybylski, Wojciech FM POL 2330 16.5 161.50 189.00 7
47 32 Dziuba, Marcin GM POL 2589 16.0 176.00 206.00 5
48 17 Bartel, Mateusz GM POL 2653 16.0 176.00 204.00 6
49 43 Gabrielian, Artur GM RUS 2545 16.0 175.50 204.50 6
50 77 Krzyzanowski, Marcin m POL 2375 16.0 171.50 203.00 6

 

Rapid

In the rapid event, 18-year old Sanan Sjugirov (a "product" of the Elista chess school) was in sole or shared lead from round 7 onwards. After round 12 he got company from five other players. In the final round two top games, Erdos and Sjugirov quickly drew their game; Korobov-Movsesian was also drawn with no questions remaining in a pawn ending. Jobava broke through with a kingside attack against Volokitin, concluding his 4/4 finish to secure the gold medal.

PGN string

Seven other players entered tiebreak matches for the other medals; certainly again a pleasure for the Polish organizers that these included GMs Kempinski, Mista and Olszewski who came from behind with wins against higher-rated opponents. Kempinski beat Nepomniachtchi, or maybe Nepomniachtchi (for whom there seems to be a curse on the 13th round, cf. the blitz event) beat himself.

PGN string

Mista and Olszewski won with the black pieces, the former from a rather dubious position.

PGN string

After some dramatic tiebreak games (should one even try to comment on Armaggedon games?) Sjugirov eventually got silver, and Kempinski bronze.

PGN file

Third, first, second in the rapid: Robert Kempinski, Baadur Jobava and Sanan Sjugirov

As far as some of the pre-tournament favorites are concerned, two not-so-famous K's jointly put an end to the hopes of Bacrot and Nepomniachtchi who lost their respective games against Kempinski and Korobov. Korobov's final 4th place probably was the best combined blitz-rapid result. Shirov started with 6/6 including several games in his typical style. Then the future winners extinguished the fire on the board (0.5/2 against Jobava and Sjugirov). In the remaining rounds, Shirov conceded too many draws against lower-rated players and came half a point short of a spot in the tiebreaks. Wojtaszek lost against Kempinski and Erdos, whose 5th place was another surprise of the event. For Naiditsch it just wasn't his weekend.

The rapid game viewer includes the key games mentioned above, and a few other examples of what characterizes rapid chess also at a rather high level: upsets, opening catastrophes and the occasional blunder (see games 4, 11 and 27 below).

PGN file

European Rapid Championship 2011 | Final standings (top 50)

# Sno Name Title Fed Rtg Pts TB1 TB2 TB3
1 12 Jobava, Baadur GM GEO 2678 11.0 100.00 117.50 10
2 27 Sjugirov, Sanan GM RUS 2622 10.5 101.00 117.50 8
3 33 Kempinski, Robert GM POL 2603 10.5 97.50 114.00 9
4 16 Korobov, Anton GM UKR 2660 10.5 103.00 119.00 9
5 25 Erdos, Viktor GM HUN 2623 10.5 104.00 122.00 8
6 5 Movsesian, Sergei GM ARM 2710 10.5 94.00 109.50 9
7 54 Olszewski, Michal GM POL 2539 10.5 90.00 106.00 10
8 36 Mista, Aleksander GM POL 2587 10.5 91.50 107.00 10
9 10 Volokitin, Andrei GM UKR 2695 10.0 102.00 118.50 8
10 9 Shirov, Alexei GM ESP 2705 10.0 99.50 116.50 8
11 8 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw GM POL 2705 10.0 97.50 115.00 9
12 2 Bacrot, Etienne GM FRA 2714 10.0 97.50 114.50 9
13 51 Tomczak, Jacek IM POL 2544 10.0 90.00 105.50 9
14 1 Nepomniachtchi, Ian GM RUS 2730 9.5 101.50 119.50 8
15 4 Polgar, Judit GM HUN 2710 9.5 100.50 118.00 8
16 18 Bartel, Mateusz GM POL 2653 9.5 99.50 116.00 9
17 63 Bryzgalin, Kirill GM RUS 2467 9.5 99.00 116.00 9
18 13 Azarov, Sergei GM BLR 2667 9.5 98.00 115.00 8
19 52 Jaracz, Pawel GM POL 2542 9.5 98.00 114.50 8
20 29 Andriasian, Zaven GM ARM 2619 9.5 97.00 114.00 8
21 15 Bologan, Viktor GM MDA 2665 9.5 96.00 113.00 9
22 19 Zhigalko, Sergei GM BLR 2651 9.5 96.00 112.50 9
23 3 Naiditsch, Arkadij GM GER 2712 9.5 95.50 112.00 9
24 17 Timofeev, Artyom GM RUS 2659 9.5 95.00 113.50 8
25 23 Howell, David W L GM ENG 2633 9.5 94.00 110.50 9
26 30 Gajewski, Grzegorz GM POL 2616 9.5 94.00 109.50 8
27 68 Kovalev, Vladislav FM BLR 2446 9.5 93.50 110.00 9
28 47 Antoniewski, Rafal GM POL 2559 9.5 92.00 108.00 8
29 6 Riazantsev, Alexander GM RUS 2710 9.5 91.50 108.00 8
30 59 Neiksans, Arturs IM LAT 2502 9.5 90.50 108.00 9
31 28 Mastrovasilis, Dimitrios GM GRE 2621 9.5 90.00 106.50 7
32 46 Nyzhnyk, Illy GM UKR 2561 9.5 88.50 104.50 9
33 35 Dziuba, Marcin GM POL 2589 9.5 88.50 104.50 8
34 38 Ruck, Robert GM HUN 2579 9.5 88.00 103.50 9
35 50 Gabrielian, Artur GM RUS 2545 9.5 86.00 101.50 9
36 123 Klekowski, Maciej k+ POL 2308 9.5 85.00 100.00 8
37 22 Jones, Gawain C B GM ENG 2635 9.0 96.50 112.50 7
38 61 Podolchenko, Evgeniy GM BLR 2484 9.0 95.50 112.00 8
39 11 Potkin, Vladimir GM RUS 2684 9.0 95.50 112.00 7
40 45 Banusz, Tamas GM HUN 2563 9.0 95.00 112.00 8
41 14 Kryvoruchko, Yuriy GM UKR 2666 9.0 95.00 111.50 6
42 7 Dreev, Aleksey GM RUS 2710 9.0 94.50 111.50 8
43 34 Kravtsiv, Martyn GM UKR 2601 9.0 94.50 111.50 7
44 32 Markowski, Tomasz GM POL 2606 9.0 94.00 109.50 7
45 41 Zhigalko, Andrey GM BLR 2572 9.0 93.50 111.00 8
46 40 Lintchevski, Daniil GM RUS 2575 9.0 92.00 107.50 7
47 21 Socko, Bartosz GM POL 2635 9.0 91.50 108.00 8
48 44 Zontakh, Andrey GM UKR 2566 9.0 91.50 107.00 8
49 73 Akesson, Ralf GM SWE 2421 9.0 91.00 107.00 8
50 31 Melkumyan, Hrant GM ARM 2615 9.0 90.50 106.50 8

 

Thomas Richter's picture
Author: Thomas Richter
Chess.com

Comments

Thierry's picture

The link to blitz games provides only tiebreaks game .
Is there any possibilities to get all the games available ?

Thomas Richter's picture

566 games from the rapid event aren´t enough? smiley Seriously, for the blitz event the tiebreak games are all that's (currently) available - last Saturday evening IM Zawadzki wrote me "our technicans would have to take some time - because of the blitz matter many files are damaged", no further update yet!? I will drop a message here (and pass the pgn file on to Mark Crowther/TWIC in case he doesn't receive it directly) when/if I know more [my highest priority was/is games from the medal winners and Judit Polgar].

Thomas Richter's picture

Now 116 games from the blitz event are available via the TWIC link in the report (I had received them late yesterday evening and passed them on Mark Crowther). But I will not write a more detailed report on the blitz part .... .

Thierry's picture

Thanks for answering . Much appreciated !
If more blitz games were communicated , please let us know.

pieter's picture

Op www.kennemercombinatie.nl staat een nederlandstalig verslag van dit leuke toernooi

Thomas Richter's picture

Thanks, that's a different perspective than me watching on the Internet and writing from home. I should have mentioned the total number of participants (367 in the blitz event, more than 700 in the rapid) to emphasize that it wasn't all about GMs. And I completely missed Movsesian's first-round loss in the rapid against Sikora (Elo 1833) - normally I check the early rounds for deviations from the usual 1-0 0-1 1-0 0-1 etc. pattern, not this time ... .

What exactly happened in Kempinski-Nepomniachtchi ("claims from both sides" as you write)? I just noticed a threefold move repetition which, so I presumed, neither player did claim.

Regarding your last paragraph "Jobava, Sjugirov and Kempinski - all strong GMs but not the big names the audience was hoping for": I guess the Polish audience was rooting for Kempinski (Wojtaszek's turn was already in the blitz event). And admittedly, out of selfishness or laziness I was a bit relieved that Korobov and Erdos didn't get a medal - else I would have felt obliged to write a bit about who they are, earlier successes etc. which would have been sort of a challenge!

Szoker's picture

Great ! :D

Yuri Zimmerman's picture

Sanan Sjugirov lives in Lipetsk since 2007. He is trained by Andrey Zontakh. And you write about Elista.

Pieter's picture

@ Thomas: I really liked your report :)

Kempinski-Nepo: both players needed a win to advance to the tiebreaks. Kempinski played what looked like a perpetual and the repeated a few times. Afterwards, Kempinski stopped the clock, went to the arbiter (presumably for a claim, although I couldn't hear what he was saying) and Nepo stayed at his table. When Kempinski and the arbiter were discussing, Naiditsch came to Nepo, asking what was going on. I thought that talk between Nepo and Naiditsch was rather unprofessional, since Nepo was still sitting at the board and Naiditsch obviously looked at their position.
When Kempinski and the arbiter returned, they discussed with Nepo and, somehow, they continued playing. So the claim was likely to be incorrect, but Nepo didn't receive extra time on his clock. To avoid the perp, Nepo sacked his queen, which proved to be an extremely brave but too risky decision. Afterwards, Nepo looked in the crowd, holding his hands high, saying sth like "what should I do"

Crowd-pleasers such as Shirov and Polgar didn't reach the tiebreaks. Considering the wide attention those two received from other participants and supporters, their score seemed to me like a dissapointment for everyone. In the tiebreaks, 3 Poles played (Mista, Olszewski, Kempinski) and the young Olszewski played a fantastic attacking game against Erdos, ending a rook up against some pawns. Erdos, with just seconds left, managed to confuse Olszewski and won, to the horror of the audience.

About Erdos and Korobov: Judit Polgar was very involved in Erdos' tiebreak. They were chatting a lot before, between and after the games. Could be a story here :)
Korobov was the most emotional of all in the tie-breaks, giving Kasparov-style facial expressions. I made some videos of the tie-breaks - unfortunately, of rather poor quality - where you can see the young Russian expressing himself in a funny way.

A final word about the organisation: it was highly professionaly organised, without much delay and splendid overview for players and audience. Pity that the price ceremony took so long, but the arrival of Santa and his presents at the very end was a crowd-pleaser! :)

Thomas Richter's picture

This report keeps me busy even after it's published smiley (but tomorrow morning I'll leave for Christmas holidays and will be mostly offline for a few days).

Shirov - if I was a bit biased in my report then by paying some extra attention to him, but his early games were certainly worth it. I forgot to include his win against Mista in the game viewer; it may have been particularly disappointing for him that Mista and Olszewski finished ahead of him while he beat both convincingly. As I hinted, his draws against Markowski, Kravtsiv and Gajewski (all ~2600) were one too many - a short one in the first game (to recover from his loss against Sjugirov the round before?) and two correct/complete ones in the other games.

Polgar didn't quite get going in the rapid, but already had a great blitz event (unfortunately her double win against Nepomniachtchi still isn't available). Shirov didn't play the blitz, BTW neither did Jobava despite being registered. I asked Sawadzki whether he had travel problems or delays and didn't quote his answer ("He resigned to not get too tired") because he may have been joking.

Kempinski-Nepo: There was a threefold repetition (after 54.-Kb5 AND 55.Qe5+); maybe Kempinski claimed the wrong way (first making his move then calling the arbiter)? In hindsight, he certainly didn't mind that his claim was turned down ... .

On to the tiebreaks: you certainly mean Olszewski-Korobov!? One of the games I didn't comment on - it would be unfair to the GMs to spend more time on it than they had and to consult engines! There was a live video on the tournament homepage, but it isn't replayable (and I hadn't watched myself).

Regarding the organisation: While all went very well at the venue (which also seems splendid), the homepage has a much better look than content - still no reports or pgn files, photos without captions [I might have considered a few more if only I knew the names of the players ...]. But Staszek (as he signed one of his emails) Zawadzki was rather helpful.

Finally @Yuri Zimmerman: OK, Sjugirov was born in Elista (where he probably got some initial chess training) and later moved to Siberia; both "chess schools" might claim some credit. I did and still do consider him a rising star - who hasn't (yet?) risen as much as a few others.

Pieter's picture

@Kempinski-Nepo: I just noticed I have the claim moment on video. Kempinski claims a draw after 54... Kb5, after which a threefold rep has already occurred. He calls the arbiter to the board, explaining, I presume, that he can enforce another threefold rep with 55. Qe5+. However, they continue playing regardless, after which Nepo commits harikiri.
BTW I made a mistake earlier, confusing Naiditsch with Movsesian. The latter approached the board and Nepo and he had some contact, but I didn't film that moment.
Movsesian generally appeared to be very relaxed and easy-going during the last nerve-wrecking rounds. When Korobov offered him a draw after the 32 move (both very low on time), Movsesian finds time to look around and makes a few comments to his opponent, after which they both start giggling. Then the game suddenly resumes again!
And ust before and after the armageddon games, he 'comforts' his opponents with a few jokes and they share a few laughs. Quite remarkable, considering the stress level of other participants and the prices at stake.

Another omission on my side: you're right, Korobov played the dramatic game against Olszewski, not Erdos. I guess Erdos was already qualified into the next round of the armageddon due to his high Buchholz.

Staszek is a short version of Stanisław, like you could refer to yourself as Tom or Tommy :)

Thomas Richter's picture

I wonder what would happen if Movsesian has to play a tense and important game against his (former and now again current) compatriot Aronian .... . But, according to your Dutch report, he wasn't as relaxed after his first-round loss - maybe he played the rest of the tournament with an "I have nothing left to lose" attitude and was already more than happy and satisfied when he nonetheless reached the tiebreaks?

@Yuri Zimmerman: I vaguely remember reading that Sjugirov lives in Siberia (apparently that's wrong, and I cannot find back the source). Maybe the confusion arose when he played at the Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad in a team with otherwise local players - or is this also wrong? And admittedly I had never heard of Lipetsk and didn't look it up ... .

Yuri Zimmerman's picture

Sanan Sjugirov never lived in Siberia. Lipetsk is 500 kilometres to the south of Moscow. To you the two on geography.

Yuri Zimmerman's picture

Sjugirov played on Hanty-Mansijsky Olimpiade, he played two years for club "Yugra" from Khanty-Mansiysk. But he there never lived. Since 2007 he lives in Lipetsk, studies on the second year of Lipetsk Pedagogical university. Andrey Zontah trains Sjugirova since 2007 (from a rating 2396). Now you know.

Thomas Richter's picture

OK thanks (info that isn't readily available to a western journalist). But then - unless Sjugirov stayed somewhere else in between - "Elista" got him to Elo 2396 (2444 in an earlier list), already quite strong for a 14-year old and strong enough to get private lessons from a GM.

Maybe I wasn't all wrong, and to my knowledge that's more than what anyone else from Elista has achieved chesswise.

S3's picture

Nice report Thomas!

k.j.h.'s picture

Herr Richter. I promise you that this is not crowing, even though I am American, but guess who Georg Meier lost to (his only loss) in the Northern California International, which just finished on January 8th?
That would be the winner by a half point, Samuel Shankland! Since we have spoken of both players in the past, I thought you would be interested.
I hope you will be writing in officiam for Tata Steel.

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